Business insurance Wisconsin insurers have come across an important piece of information that could be of crucial relevance for employers regarding insurance costs in their business.
On a court decision that shocked workers compensation experts, a New Jersey appellate court ruled that James Renner is entitled to workers compensation survivor benefits, after his wife, Kathleen, died of a blood clot after sitting at her work computer for long hours.
Kathleen Renner, an obese AT&T Inc. manager, worked from home and “worked all hours of the day and night” to meet deadlines imposed by her employer, court records state.
A medical expert for Mr. Renner said that sitting for an extended period probably led to the formation of blood clots and contributed to Ms Renner’s death, acknowledging other important risk factors, such as her obesity.
Indeed, obesity figures are dramatically increasing in the United States. Approximately a third of American adults are currently obese, and it is the leading cause of preventable deaths in the world.
Meanwhile, a medical expert for the defense said that the combination of risk factors contributed to her pulmonary embolism, but he also admitted that it would have been less likely for her to suffer from an embolism had she not worked that day, according to court records.
As business insurance Wisconsin agents found out, after AT&T appealed the court decision, the Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division said it had to determine whether the woman’s lack of movement at work “was more severe than her lack of movement in her daily living, and whether the inactivity at work caused her pulmonary embolism in a material way”.
The court ruled there was sufficient evidence to support the finding that prolonged inactivity while working caused the pulmonary embolism by a material degree, but the ruling left business insurance Wisconsin agents interested in the case questioning whether the claim would have arisen if not for the obesity factor.
Courts and workers compensation boards in other states have similarly found in some cases that employers and insurers are responsible for addressing injured workers’ weight conditions when doing so is vital for the treatment of their workplace injuries to succeed.
So is the case of Edward G. Sprague, who suffered a work-related knee injury in 1976, and over 25 years later the knee had deteriorated when he suffered another work accident.
Mr. Sprague, who weighed 350 lbs when he suffered the last accident in 2001, had to undergo knee surgery, but doctors concluded his obesity needed treatment in order for his knee surgery to succeed.
SAIF, the insurer, opposed paying for a bypass surgery, claiming it should not compensate it because the claimant had not proved his morbid obesity was caused by his compensable knee injury.
Still, in a move expected by business insurance Wisconsin insurers, the Supreme Court disagreed, stating that the bypass surgery was related to the claimant’s knee condition, which was caused in part by the 1976 injury.
In the case of Oregon, where the case happened, “the statute does not limit the compensability of medical services simply because those services provide incidental benefits or help to treat other medical conditions that were not caused by the compensable injury”, the court said.